The Mason Missile, November 23, 2018

Greetings!

I hope everyone within the sound of this newsletter voted. I did my modest role in the process; as a committee-person in my division, I handed out flyers throughout my ward, and I served as Clerk in my division’s election board, taping up posters and helping take the information from the machines after the election.

In my division, it was an epic turnout; serious issues were at stake in this election, such as the environment, tax codes favoring the wealthy and placing the tax burden on already stressed working families, dilapidated schools, and aging infrastructure-along with a commander-in-chief who runs the government like a mafia family, who does not honor military veterans or people who died in the service of their country, and whose deepest thoughts are on Twitter (nothing against social media, he’s not that deep a thinker).

But it shouldn’t take an impending national catastrophe to motivate people into voting; politics, and the issues of the community affected by politics, are the concern of each person. Now that the election is (for the most part) over, we can take a breather-burnout and wearing down are problems for activists-then continue our work on educating ourselves on the issues and meeting to plan strategy; politics is not about elections,  it’s about working with, and on, the governing system for the benefit of the entire community.

I’m pleased with some of the results; we didn’t get the Senate, but we have the House, with a new cadre of women members-over 100 at last count; recounts have added to the number. A definite, long-overdue sea change is coming to our politics. We have Sharice Davids in Kansas (Native American and gay), Deb Haaland in New Mexico (Nate American), Rashida Tlaib in Michigan (Muslim) and Ilhan Omar in Minnesota (Muslim and Somali-American),   and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez in New York (Hispanic and the youngest female member elected). In Colorado, Jared Polis (Democrat) will be the first openly gay man to be elected governor of a state (Kate Brown of Oregon is already the first openly bisexual governor of a state). Marsha Blackburn will be Tennessee’s first female US Senator.

The question-Should there be new leadership for congressional Democrats? Often congressional Democratic leaders, like Steny Hoyer and Chuck Schumer, have gone along too much with accommodating Republicans, giving up too much to them; and Majority Leader (and possible Speaker of the House) Nancy Pelosi does not want to take the radical measures necessary for the country and the economy, like “Medicare for all,” to make our health care system closer to Canada’s single-payer system, preferring to stick with the Affordable Health Care Act (“Obamacare”).

Alas, taking corporate money, and the Clinton “centrist” tendency to imitate the Republicans in accommodating corporations with “free trade” deals detrimental to workers, like the North American free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), have rendered the Democrats incapable of challenging the Republican program.  And so we have been taught that “free trade” is the new normal, the reality we have to accept, and any challenge is just plain silly.

Oh? This new crew of Democrats in Congress hopefully could challenge this belief. But do we have to accept Pelosi as Speaker again? Would any attempt to dislodge Pelosi weaken the Democrats in Congress, at a time when the Republicans are now weakened by their own President, and may not ever recover? This is a great test of political skills for the new crew, to be ready to deal with the established leadership, but from a position of strength, to advance their agenda within the framework of the party caucus.

The party leadership would have to consider first the needs of the American people and the issues Americans face on a daily basis, and the leaders would have to finally be weaned away from the corporate trough. The new members represent the American people as they are-not so affluent, not so white, mainly female, many not heterosexual, and not all of them identifying as Christian. Eventually, with practice of political skills like committee work, public speaking, and negotiating, these newbies will attain leadership positions.

The new congressional crew will have to deal with such serious issues as income inequality, health insurance, dilapidated schools and infrastructure, the environment, factories closing and jobs moving to low wage regions, then overseas (a phenomenon dating back to the fifties and sixties, supposedly a golden age for the American worker). For the good of the nation-seriously-the new crew and the old heads must come together for the people’s welfare. (I’m not an either-or thinker; the new crew and the old veterans have their virtues, skills, experience, and energy.)

This election has also exposed the terrible reality of voter fraud, particularly in Georgia, Texas, and Florida, during their senatorial and gubernatorial campaigns. How interesting it is that while people were exercising the most simple and basic act of a citizen-voting-machines, lost electric power or were not open on time, absentee ballots were misplaced until the deadline for counting them passed, and people suddenly found themselves NOT on the voting rolls, even though they voted for decades. Fortunately, the results of these voting suppression schemes are observed and challenged. And IF these candidates are “elected” by fraudulent means, like Brian Kemp in Georgia (who, while running for Governor, was still the state’s Secretary of State, in charge of the voting system), we don’t have to accept them as the legitimate holders of those offices. This is not about “being a good sport” and “you lost get over it.” This is serious business, not a kid’s backyard ball game. These offices affect how people’s lives work-law enforcement (will it turn into state repression?), pollution, discrimination, you name it.

And do the conservatives think that we the people will take this? NO! We will continue our work of activism, agitation, education, and voter mobilization.  Rest assured I’ll do my part, and if we all come together in this work, we can and will win. Please forgive the cliché, but “Many hands make light work.”  Bye!

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Update, November 8, 2018

On Election Day, November 6, I worked the polls in my division, as Clerk in my division’s election board, helping my fellow board members set up for the voting, and helping people, citizens of our country, exercise their right to vote, which people have died for. It was a long and crazy day, but it was worth it, as I was part of a movement to take our country back from plutocrats and their deranged front man in the White House.

The election results? Not all I hoped for, to be honest; the Republicans, a reactionary parody of their former selves, still have control of the Senate, but the Democrats regained the House; and there are several new members of the House-many of them women, and young, Hispanic, and native-American, reflecting the reality that America is a vast, diverse country, and non-white people are taking part in the system.

Yesterday, I was at the meeting of Philly For Change, at Tattooed Mo, on 5th and South streets. There were no speakers, but we celebrated the victories of our endorsed candidates, Joe Hohenstein and Malcolm Kenyatta in the State House of Representatives. We also discussed he campaign itself,  like how we communicate to voters, the campaign strategy of trump, and how to plan for the elections in 2019.

What concerns me is the temptation by the Democratic congressional leadership to think the old rules of politics-sit down with the other side, make deals, and work something out to get things done-are still in effect. This is no longer the time of Lyndon Johnson, who was able to meet with Republican leaders like Everett Dirksen to pass Civil rights legislation; the republican party had “learned” that the way to get ahead in politics is to slander the opposition, not just way they’re wrong but that they’re evil, and never compromise with them, and force your congressional leaders to take extreme stances-the tactics Newt Gingrich was famous for.

As we progressives are working inside the Democratic party, we must demand some backbone from our leaders, and not give in to their demands for greater tax cuts for the plutocrats; the destroying of Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security; the weakening of regulations on the pollution of our air and water; and tolerance for discrimination against racial and religious minorities; we must also push for the end of being close to wall street, to gain campaign contributions, but to overturn the Citizens United decision and stop treating campaign contributions-to the millions of dollars-like “free speech.” We must prepare for a fight, for our families and our democracy.

This is democracy-people, working people, retirees, young people, claiming a stake in the political system that affects all of our lives. It is an opportunity where a neighborhood person,  man or woman you know in your block-such as a retiree-can be a political player. I urge you, in this dangerous period in our nation’s history, to play your role in reclaiming our government and making it work for working people.

Election Time 2018

As a committeeman for my ward in South Philadelphia, and as an American, I urge you to get out there and VOTE in the general election. The last day for voter registration is October 9; the last day to apply for a civilian absentee ballot if October 30; and the election itself is on November 6. Here are the candidates I endorse:

US Senate from Pennsylvania, Bob Casey; and

Governor of Pennsylvania, Tom Wolfe.

Not only must we get out and vote, but we must do so in record numbers, to show the politicians of both parties that we the people are conscious of what is going on in our nation and in our communities, and we want to hold them accountable and not take us for granted.

Later on the Presidential elections will come up; and hopefully the Democratic party leadership will have learned not to cheat the progressive element of their voice or votes, that the progressives of the party are raising serious issues:

trade treaties that move manufacturing, and the jobs that go with them, out of local communities and cause unemployment for workers, with its accompanying sense of hopelessness;

gun violence that kills young lives;

banks receiving virtual welfare-such as grants from the Federal Reserve-while delivering perks to executives and buyout deals for incompetent CEOs;

tax benefits for corporations and the wealthy which, in spite of the myth, do NOT simulate the economy, but stay in the foreign bank accounts of billionaires;

and the racism crawling out of the woodwork, thanks to (sarcasm alert) the wonderful example set by our commander-in-chief.  This list just scratches the surface.

Not only must you vote, but inform yourself of what goes on in the community an the world, so the politicians see you are paying attention to what is going on.

 

 

 

Committeeman!

I have just come from the meeting of the 48th Ward Democratic Committee in South Philadelphia, where I presented my credentials as a Committee-member. we had nominations for officers-Anton Moore, a live wire of a young man who is dedicated to the community, was elected Ward Leader; I myself was elected Assistant Secretary. I will join other great activists in bringing in the people of our neighborhoods into the democratic process, just in time to fight the Trump agenda.

Health Care Battle

In spite of majorities in both houses of Congress, the republican leadership failed-again-to wipe out the Affordable Care Act (ACA), aka “Obamacare;” all they had to replace it with was either tax breaks for billionaires, or nothing at all, just straight repeal.

Fortunately there were Republicans who paid more attention to their constituents that to their leaders, Mitch McConnell and Paul Ryan; as short as “Obamacare” falls in covering all Americans with health insurance, it was a great improvement over  how it used to be, when fifty-five million Americans had no coverage at all. Still, we must continue to  work towards a single-payer health insurance system, as in Canada-“Medicare for all.”

Public activism-people demonstrating in the streets, in town halls, and in congressional offices, phoning or e-mailing Congress-members-definitely turned the tide against the republican “plan,” showing that people power can override Washington power brokers and lobbyists.

It’s something to keep up; we can no longer count on the Democratic National Committee leadership to fight the republican onslaught, they being all to willing to try to make a deal-with people who don’t believe in compromise, and with a party dominated by the most extreme and violent elements of American politics. we the American people are the real opposition party; let’s keep fighting, and we’ll keep winning.

Get Out and VOTE!

April 26 will be the day of the primary election in Pennsylvania. I urge everyone within the sound of my blog to get their asses out and VOTE. Your candidate may not win, Lord knows I’ve backed some lost but noble causes, but it will show the political bosses we are paying attention to what goes on in the world.

With that in mind I hereby announce my endorsement for President of the United States-Bernie Sanders. I do NOT swallow the established media line that Hillary Clinton-who started as a Goldwater Girl back in the ’60s, and supports a pro-corporate agenda as bad as the Republicans-owns this or that voting block, or that she has the nomination in the bag just because the party apparatus is on her side.

The only real reason she became a Senator was by being first lady to Bill Clinton, who was as pro-corporate as any Republican Senator-he pushed the North American Free Trade Agreement, which took jobs out of this country, causing massive unemployment for American workers. Plus, after losing the 1994 congressional elections, Clinton hired Dick Morris, a conservative republican political manager, to be his political advisor in moving to the right, so therefore leaving American voters with no real choice in political options.

On the other hand, Bernie Sanders, a Democratic Socialist and proud of it, comes from outside the “two party” apparatus, (which to be is as much part of the government apparatus as the Army), and has a track record of pro-people activism, including work in the Civil Rights movement. Plus, younger people are coming up who have no memory of the Soviet Union, so the “Red Scare” of associating Socialism with Communism won’t work anymore. People are turned off anymore by the “two-party” system, whereby one party does not check or balance the other party, but they have the same corporate paymasters donating to their campaigns.

With the people on the streets, and the artistry going on-the kind of stuff you would not take place in any regular political campaign-it’s not just a campaign, it IS a revolution going on, a serious upheaval, a big change coming on in this country. Be a part of it and vote.

The Election So Far

The “election” of Hillary Clinton last night in New York last night does NOT impress me; it was “won” through the deliberate removal of voters from the rolls, something that would shame the most backward county in Alabama. THIS is how the next President of the most powerful nation in the world will be carried out?

And should we go along with the “lesser of two evils” argument, that if we don’t vote for Hillary, right or wrong, Trump or Cruz will be elected? The entire two party system, really factions of the same ruling elite which does not care a whit about us working and low income people, is rotten with corporate money, and politicians in BOTH parties feel they have to put their hands out for the corporate grease. Politics is more than who runs for what office, it’s about movements for change over a period of time and effort.

“These people can now stop pretty much anyone they want”: Wall Street in the Elizabeth Warren era – Salon.com

There was a time when the left-liberal wing of the Democratic party was shunned by the party apparatus, after the Nixon reelection of 1972 and the election of 1988, when the Republicans called Michael Dukakus a “liberal,” like it was an STD. (With his treatment of welfare recipients and the LGBT community, he was anything but.)

Now, the progressive element of the party is on the march. Great, and I’m in the movement that will eventually move the country more towards Democratic Socialism.

 

“These people can now stop pretty much anyone they want”: Wall Street in the Elizabeth Warren era – Salon.com

via “These people can now stop pretty much anyone they want”: Wall Street in the Elizabeth Warren era – Salon.com.

In 2014 America Abandoned Its Constitution And Devolved Into a Fascist Theocracy

In 2014 America Abandoned Its Constitution And Devolved Into a Fascist Theocracy

via In 2014 America Abandoned Its Constitution And Devolved Into a Fascist Theocracy.

Elizabeth Warren was right: The links between Citigroup and government run deep – The Washington Post

This is terrible, our government once again shows itself a wholly-owned subsidiary of such corporations as Citigroup. How can working and low-income people get a word in edgewise to our government if they’re not in the process? And this is the “DEMOCRATIC” party, supposedly the party unions are allied with. IT’s proven to be a terrible ally, one we can’t count on.

 

Elizabeth Warren was right: The links between Citigroup and government run deep – The Washington Post

via Elizabeth Warren was right: The links between Citigroup and government run deep – The Washington Post.